Port of San Diego officials have approved a 10-year lease for an ocean research vessel, to be operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at Crosby Street Pier, adjacent to the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

The lease is expected to create approximately 24 jobs and generate an estimated $27 million annually for the local economy, according to a port district statement.

The Board of Port Commissioners approved the 10-year lease, with one five-year option, to the General Services Administration, allowing for the berthing of the newest NOAA vessel, the Reuben Lasker. NOAA is expected to begin its lease in September.

NOAA estimates that the ship’s annual operating budget will be approximately $6 million, most of which will be spent in San Diego on fuel, supplies, food and salaries. Port officials said other economic impacts will include work for several marine engineering support contractors, for vessel repairs and maintenance.

The NOAA lease is the latest in a series of regional environmental partnerships involving the port district, with entities including NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, World Wildlife Fund and Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute.

— SDBJ Staff Report